Heavy hangs the head that wears the bulletproof panther mask.
In a way, Captain America: Civil War turned out to be Black Panther’s film as much as anyone’s. The newly introduced Prince T’Challa – as played by Chadwick Boseman – might not have scored the most screen time, but he was the hero who really seemed changed by Iron Man and Cap’s showdown.
Marvel Studios is great at many things, but not so much at diversity, so Black Panther also marks the first solo film not starring a white dude.
Suffice to say, we’re very excited about the movie. Here’s the rundown on what to expect when T’Challa goes on the warpath.
Black Panther trailer: Secret society
The first trailer for Black Panther has arrived.
It gives us a first look at how T’Challa’s fictional and highly advanced African nation Wakanda actually works, as well as showing off some serious action.
Black Panther cast: Young and gifted
Creed and Fruitvale Station director Ryan Coogler is taking the reins of Black Panther for Marvel, and he’s gathering a cast of talented young black actors for the movie.
Get On Up and… er… Gods of Egypt star Boseman is of course back as the recently orphaned prince of Wakanda. Although we suppose he’s king now.
[T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) and Okoye (Danai Gurira)]
Coogler is bringing his frequent collaborator Michael B Jordan along for the ride. It was revealed at San Diego Comic-Con 2016 that he will be playing the magnificently named Erik Killmonger, a Wakandan exile with a grudge against his former king, T’Challa. (Just nobody mention Fantastic Four, please.)
Star Wars: The Force Awakens star Lupita Nyong’o is also on board to play a Wakandan called Nakia. In the comics, she was a member of the royal bodyguard called the Dora Milaje, but was kicked out for becoming obsessed with Black Panther and trying to kill his lover. She hooked up with Killmonger and gained supernatural powers as the villain Malice.
Killmonger and Malice. Not at all on the nose, right?
[Killmonger (Michael B Jordan) and W’Kabi (Daniel Kaluuya)]
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Danai Gurira – best known as The Walking Dead’s Michonne – will play Okoye, another Dora Milaje – albeit one who doesn’t betray her king. Forest Whitaker will be following up Rogue One: A Star Wars Story by playing Zuri, an ‘elder statesman’ of Wakanda, with Florence Kasumba, Daniel Kaluuya (Black Mirror) and Winston Duke (Person of Interest) also on board. This is Us actor Sterling K Brown will appear as N’Jobu, “a figure from T’Challa’s… past”.
The legendary Angela Bassett (American Horror Story, What’s Love Got to Do with It) will appear as T’Challa’s mother Ramonda, the queen mother of Wakanda, and Letitia Wright (Doctor Who, My Brother the Devil) is playing his sister Shuri – who in the comics has served as both Black Panther and queen.
[Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o), Everett Ross (Martin Freeman) and Ramonda (Angela Bassett)]
Andy Serkis is back as classic Black Panther foe Ulysses Klaue – who Killmonger also despises for enslaving his family. He traditionally replaces his hand with a sound-based weapon and goes by the name Klaw.
Martin Freeman will reprise his role as Everett Ross, Deputy Task Force Commander of the Joint Counter Terrorist Centre from Captain America: Civil War.
[Everett Ross (Martin Freeman) and Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis)]
Samuel L Jackson wanted to bring back Nick Fury, but was told ‘no’. We’ll probably have to wait for Avengers: Infinity War for his return.
Sebastian Stan’s Winter Soldier – who is currently on ice in Wakanda – is seemingly back for Infinity War. Could we see he thawed out ahead of time in Black Panther?
[Zuri (Forest Whitaker)]
Marvel is also looking to cast people of African heritage from 18 to 90-years-old, particularly people with skills in drumming, MMA and wrestling. Piercings and shaved heads welcome all round. It sounds like Wakanda’s going to be a diverse (and militaristic) place.
Black Panther plot: Civil War aftermath
Not much has been revealed at this point, although Nyong’o did apparently let slip more than she should have at Comic-Con.
“The story of this Black Panther is – what am I allowed to say? – that the Black Panther’s leadership is really threatened by two foes who come together, and so Black Panther gets the help of the CIA and the Dora Milaje to try and defeat the enemy,” she said.
The most up to date synopsis reads as follows:
“After the events of Captain America: Civil War, King T’Challa returns home to the reclusive, technologically advanced African nation of Wakanda to serve as his country’s new leader. However, T’Challa soon finds that he is challenged for the throne from factions within his own country. When two foes conspire to destroy Wakanda, the hero known as Black Panther must team up with CIA agent Everett K Ross and members of the Dora Milaje, Wakandan special forces, to prevent Wakanda from being dragged into a world war.”
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[Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) and Shuri (Letitia Wright)]
The first trailer reveals that Wakanda has been hiding its superior technology from the world, but that the secret (possible with the help of Klaw) is about to be exposed.
There have also been some hints at a ’90s flashback.
The film feels like the next best chance to pick up the threads from Civil War, with the Avengers divided and Cap’s team last seen hanging out in Wakanda, while T’Challa gets to grips with his new role as king. That’s looking very likely after writer Joe Robert Cole that Black Panther is set shortly after Marvel’s 2015 movie.
So we would expect some cameos from Cap and co, or at least some acknowledgement of what is going on in the wider MCU. And we don’t think the crown is going to stand in the way of Black Panther donning his badass bulletproof costume and putting some bad guys in their place.
Boseman has said that it will be “grittier” than your average MCU film, and has described his character as an “anti-hero” (well, an “anti-superhero”). And having a majority black cast for a major blockbuster might be a landmark moment, but he’s trying not to think about it while he’s shooting.
[Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o)]
Like any good MCU film, it will also apparently look beyond the borders of Wakanda, with first images from the production emerging from South Korea.
Black Panther release date: In the shadow of Infinity War
Shooting began in early 2017, and Boseman’s solo outing lands at an increasingly busy time in Marvel’s schedule. It will be released in the UK on February 9, 2018, and in the US on February 16, 2018.
That puts it only three months before the first instalment of the two-part Avengers: Infinity War film, adding to our anticipation about how it will tie into the next big Marvel team-up and the overall story of the MCU.